Nuance Communications

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Nuance Communications, Inc.
FormerlyScanSoft, Inc.
TypePublic company
Founded1992; 30 years ago (1992)
as Visioneer
HeadquartersBurlington, Massachusetts, U.S.
Key people
Chairman and CEO Mark Benjamin
ProductsNLU OCR, speech synthesis, speech recognition, PDF, consulting, government contracts
RevenueIncrease US$1.949 billion (2016)[1]
Increase US$0.139 billion (2016)[2]
Increase US$-0.013 billion (2016)[2]
Total assetsIncrease US$5.7 billion (2016)[1]
Total equityDecrease US$1.9 billion (2016)[1]
Number of employees
6,500+ (2021)
ParentMicrosoft (pending)

Nuance is an American multinational computer software technology corporation, headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, that markets speech recognition and artificial intelligence software.

Nuance merged with its competitor in the commercial large-scale speech application business, ScanSoft, in October 2005. ScanSoft was a Xerox spin-off that was bought in 1999 by Visioneer, a hardware and software scanner company, which adopted ScanSoft as the new merged company name. The original ScanSoft had its roots in Kurzweil Computer Products.

In April 2021, Microsoft announced it would buy Nuance Communications. The deal is an all-cash transaction of $19.7 billion, including company's debt, or $56 a share.[3][4]

In January 2022, Andrew Grosso & Associates, a District of Columbia law firm, announced that a lawsuit brought by Marc Stolowitz against Nuance Communications. The lawsuit accuses Nuance of fraud, malicious prosecution, and defamation. The case is Marc Stolowitz v. Nuance Communications, Inc., Case No. 2021-026329-CA-0, filed in Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida.[5]


The company that would become Nuance was incorporated in 1992 as Visioneer. In 1999, Visioneer acquired ScanSoft, Inc. (SSFT), and the combined company became known as ScanSoft. In September 2005, ScanSoft Inc. acquired and merged with Nuance Communications, a natural language spinoff from SRI International. The resulting company adopted the Nuance name. During the prior decade, the two companies competed in the commercial large-scale speech application business.[6]

ScanSoft origins[edit]

In 1974, Raymond Kurzweil founded Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc. to develop the first omni-font optical character-recognition system – a computer program capable of recognizing text written in any normal font. In 1980, Kurzweil sold his company to Xerox.[7] The company became known as Xerox Imaging Systems (XIS), and later ScanSoft.[citation needed]

In March 1992, a new company called Visioneer, Inc. was founded to develop scanner hardware and software products, such as a sheetfed scanner called PaperMax[8] and the document management software PaperPort. Visioneer eventually sold its hardware division to Primax Electronics, Ltd. in January 1999. Two months later, in March, Visioneer acquired ScanSoft from Xerox to form a new public company with ScanSoft as the new company-wide name.[citation needed]

Prior to 2001, ScanSoft focused primarily on desktop imaging software such as TextBridge,[9] PaperPort and OmniPage. Beginning with the December 2001 acquisition of Lernout & Hauspie assets, the company moved into the speech recognition business and began to compete with Nuance. Lernout & Hauspie had acquired speech recognition company Dragon Systems in June 2001, shortly before becoming bankrupt in October.[10][11]

Partnership with Siri and Apple Inc.[edit]

Siri is an application that combines speech recognition with advanced natural-language processing. Artificial intelligence, which required both advances in the underlying algorithms and leaps in processing power both on mobile devices and the servers that share the workload, allows software to understand words and their intentions.[12]


Prior to the 2005 merger, ScanSoft acquired other companies to expand its business. Unlike ScanSoft, Nuance did not actively acquire companies prior to their merger other than the acquisition of Rhetorical Systems in November 2004 for $6.7 million.[citation needed] After the merger, the company continued to grow through acquisition.

ScanSoft merges with Nuance; changes company-wide name to Nuance Communications, Inc.[edit]

  • September 15, 2005 — ScanSoft acquired and merged with Nuance Communications, of Menlo Park, California for $221 million.
  • October 18, 2005 — the company changed its name to Nuance Communications, Inc.[13]

Nuance acquisitions after merger[edit]

  • March 31, 2006 — Dictaphone Corporation, of Stratford, Connecticut $357 million.[14]
  • December 29, 2006 — Mobile Voice Control, Inc. of Mason, Ohio.[citation needed]
  • March 2007 — Focus Informatics, Inc. Woburn, Massachusetts.[citation needed]
  • March 26, 2007 — Bluestar Resources Ltd.[citation needed]
  • April 24, 2007 — BeVocal, Inc. of Mountain View, California $140 million.[citation needed]
  • August 24, 2007 — VoiceSignal Technologies, Inc. of Woburn, Massachusetts.[15][16]
  • August 24, 2007 — Tegic Communications, Inc. of Seattle, Washington for $265 million. Tegic developed and was the patent owner of T9 technology.[citation needed]
  • September 28, 2007 — Commissure, Inc. of New York City, New York for 217,975 shares of common stock.[citation needed]
  • November 2, 2007 — Vocada, Inc. of Dallas, Texas.[citation needed]
  • November 26, 2007 — Viecore, Inc. of Mahwah, New Jersey.[17]
  • November 26, 2007 — Viecore, FSD. of Eatontown, New Jersey.[18] It was sold to EOIR in 2013.[19]
  • May 20, 2008 — eScription, Inc. of Needham, Massachusetts for $340 million plus 1,294,844 shares of common stock.[20]
  • July 31, 2008 — MultiVision Communications Inc. of Markham, Ontario.[citation needed]
  • September 26, 2008 — Philips Speech Recognition SystemsGMBH (PSRS), a business unit of Royal Philips Electronics of Vienna, Austria for about €66 million, or US$96.1 million.[21] The acquisition of Philips Speech Recognition Systems sparked an antitrust investigation by the US Department of Justice.[22] This investigation was focused upon medical transcription services and was closed in December, 2009.
  • October 1, 2008 — SNAPin Software, Inc. of Bellevue, Washington — $180 million in shares of common stock.[23]
  • January 15, 2009 — Nuance Acquires IBM's patents Speech Technology rights.[24]
  • April 10, 2009 — Zi Corporation of Calgary, Alberta, Canada for approximately $35 million in cash and common stock.[25]
  • May 2009 — the speech technology department of Harman International Industries.[citation needed]
  • July 14, 2009 — Jott Networks Inc. of Seattle, Washington.[26]
  • September 18, 2009 — nCore Ltd. of Oulu, Finland.[27]
  • October 5, 2009 — Ecopy of Nashua, New Hampshire. Under the terms of the agreement, net consideration was approximately $54 million in Nuance common stock.[28]
  • December 30, 2009 — Spinvox of Marlow, UK for $102.5m comprising $66m in cash and $36.5m in stock.[29]
  • February 16, 2010 — Nuance announced they acquired MacSpeech for an undisclosed amount.[30]
  • February 2010 — Nuance acquired Language and Computing, Inc., a provider of natural language processing and natural language understanding technology solutions, from Gimv NV, a Belgium-based private equity firm.[citation needed]
  • July 2010 — Nuance acquired iTa P/L, an Australian IVR and speech services company.[31]
  • November 2010 — Nuance acquired PerSay, a voice biometrics-based authentication company for $12.6 million.[32][33]
  • February 2011 — Nuance acquired Noterize, an Australian company producing software for the Apple iPad.[34]
  • June 2011 — Nuance acquired Equitrac, a print management and cost recovery software company.[35]
  • June 2011 — Nuance acquired SVOX, a speech technology company specializing in the automotive, mobile, and consumer electronics markets.[36]
  • July 2011 — Nuance acquired Webmedx, a provider of medical transcription and editing services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.[37]
  • August 2011 — Loquendo announced Nuance acquired it. Loquendo provided a range of speech technologies for telephony, mobile, automotive, embedded and desktop solutions including text-to-speech (TTS), automatic speech recognition (ASR) and voice biometrics solutions. Nuance paid 53 million euros.[38]
  • October 2011 — Nuance acquired Swype, a company that produces input software for touchscreen displays, for more than $100 million.[39]
  • December 2011 — Nuance acquired Vlingo, after repeatedly suing Vlingo over patent infringement. Vlingo was trying to make voice enabling applications easier, by using their own speech-to-text J2ME/Brew application API.[40]
  • April 2012 — Nuance acquired Transcend Services. Transcend utilizes a combination of its proprietary Internet-based voice and data distribution technology, customer based technology, and home-based medical language specialists to convert physicians' voice recordings into electronic documents. It also provides outsourcing transcription and editing services on the customer's platform.[41]
  • June 2012 — Nuance acquired SafeCom, a provider of print management and cost recovery software noted for their integration with Hewlett-Packard printing devices.[42]
  • September 2012 — Nuance acquired Ditech Networks for $22.5 million.[43]
  • September 2012 — Nuance acquired Quantim, QuadraMed's HIM Business, a provider of information technology solutions for the healthcare industry.[44]
  • October 2012 — Nuance acquired J.A. Thomas and Associates (JATA), a provider of physician-oriented, clinical documentation improvement (CDI) programs for the healthcare industry.[45]
  • November 2012 — Nuance acquired Accentus.[46]
  • January 2013 — Nuance acquired VirtuOz.[citation needed]
  • April 2013 — Nuance acquired Copitrak.[citation needed]
  • May 2013 — Nuance acquired Tweddle Connect business for $80 million from Tweddle Group.[47]
  • July 2013 — Nuance acquired Cognition Technologies Inc.[citation needed]
  • October 2013 — Nuance acquired Varolii (formally Par3 Communications).[48]
  • January 15, 2014 — Nuance acquired Emdat. [49]
  • July 2014 — Nuance acquired Accelarad (FKA Neurostar Solutions), makers of SeeMyRadiology, a cloud-based medical images and reports exchange network. Accelarad was based in Atlanta Georgia with a Sales Operations office in Birmingham Alabama.[citation needed]
  • June 2016 — Nuance acquired TouchCommerce, a leader in digital customer service and intelligent engagement solutions with a specialization in live chat.[50]
  • August 2016 — Nuance acquired Montage Healthcare Solutions.[citation needed]
  • February 2017 — Nuance acquired mCarbon for $36M, a mobile value added services provider.[51]
  • January 2018 — Nuance acquired iScribes, a medical documentation solutions provider.[52]
  • May 2018 — Nuance acquired voicebox for $82M, an early leader in speech recognition and natural language technologies.[53]
  • Feb 8, 2021 — Nuance acquired Saykara.[54]

Acquisition of Nuance Document Imaging by Kofax Inc.[edit]

On February 1, 2019, Kofax Inc. announced the closing of its acquisition of Nuance Communications' Document Imaging Division.[55] By means of this acquisition, Kofax gained Nuance's Power PDF, PaperPort document management, and OmniPage optical character recognition software applications. Kofax also acquired Copitrak in the closing.

Spinoff of Automotive Business to Cerence Inc.[edit]

On October 1, 2019, Nuance Communications completed a spinoff of its automotive division to a separate publicly traded company, Cerence Inc., which included all transportation market segments. Nuance retained its core vertical and healthcare businesses, and the two companies formed an intellectual property agreement.[56][57][58][59]

Acquisition by Microsoft[edit]

On April 12, 2021, Microsoft announced that it will buy Nuance Communications for $19.7 billion, or $56 a share, a 22% increase over the previous closing price.[60][61] Nuance's CEO, Mark Benjamin, will stay with the company. This will be Microsoft's second-biggest deal ever, after its purchase of LinkedIn for $24 billion in 2016.[62] Shortly after the deal, the Competition and Markets Authority, a UK regulatory body, stated it was looking into the deal on the basis of antitrust concerns.[63] In December 2021, it was reported that the deal would be approved by the European Union.[64]


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